Achieving a big goal is usually something to shout from the rooftops. After all, if you ran a marathon or finished a Ph.D. program, you’d likely gather a group of your closest friends to celebrate.
But some accomplishments are a little trickier to revel in. For instance, what if you just paid off a big credit card balance? On the one hand, you probably want your friends to know that your hard work has paid off. But, on the other, it feels a little tacky to announce it. If you’re not sure what to do, take a look at the details below – we’ll help you navigate this dicey social situation.
Feeling the urge to broadcast your success? That’s natural – and maybe helpful, too
Paying off credit card debt is a long, hard slog. When it’s finally over, the urge to share the news is natural. And it might also be helpful.
If you happen to know that your circle of friends includes a few with credit card debt, mentioning that you managed to pay yours off is potentially motivating. You could serve as a powerful example of how skipping happy hours, delaying big purchases and putting up with roommates really add up to big savings that can be used to pay off debt.
There’s also the accountability factor to consider. If you pay off your credit card and keep the news to yourself, sliding back into debt is easier to do. But if your friends know that you’re debt free, there’s more incentive to stay that way. Admit it: You would probably feel a little guilty about maxing out your plastic again if you’ve already announced that it’s paid-in-full!
But there might be good reasons to keep a lid on your excitement
While there are certainly some good reasons to think about telling your friends that you’ve reached a big debt payoff goal, there is also something to be said for discretion. No matter how excited you are about your success, money is still a taboo topic for a lot of people, and you wouldn’t want to make others feel uncomfortable.
Plus, there might be specific situations within your clique that would make crowing about a financial achievement seem tasteless. For instance, if one of your friends recently experienced a job loss or other monetary setback, going on and on about how happy you are that your credit card is paid off would be insensitive.
Finally, there’s always the risk that, in an effort to inspire, you come off sounding self-righteous. If you don’t choose your words carefully, your friends might feel that you’re judging their financial choices. There’s a fine line between saying, “I paid off my credit card debt! It was hard work, but so worth it” and “I paid off my credit card debt! You should pay off yours, too.”
The bottom line: Trust your gut, know your audience
In the end, using your instincts and gauging the audience is probably the best way to figure out whether or not to announce that you’ve paid off your plastic. You know yourself and the dynamics of your social group best – carefully consider both when you’re deciding how to proceed.
That’s what Marcos Colon did. The 29-year-old media professional paid off his credit card debt in the spring of 2014. “At times I wanted to tell my friends [about paying off the debt] because I felt it was such an accomplishment,” Colon said. “But at the end of the day, I’m not big on sharing my personal financial situation, so I’d hold off. However, when it comes to family, I definitely shared the news. They’re much closer to this area of my personal life, so I felt comfortable sharing the news with them.”
If you’re still on the fence about telling your loved ones about your triumph over debt, use the answers to the following questions as a guide:
- How close am I with the people I want to tell?
- Have I discussed my financial goals with this crowd before? How did they react?
- Is there a chance I could inspire my friends to pay off their debts by sharing this news?
- Are the members of my peer group doing well financially or are some struggling?
- Have any of my friends explicitly stated that they’d prefer not to talk about money?
- Will I be able to stay humble or is there a chance that I’ll appear arrogant?
- In general, will my friends be excited about my success?
The takeaway: Paying off a credit card is no small feat. But think carefully before telling all your friends about it – there could be repercussions if you don’t!
Party image via Shutterstock